Heart Health and Changing Hormones

by | Mar 16, 2023 | Hormones

During menopause, fluctuations in hormonal levels can change our body’s ability to cope with physiological stress. One of the most significant ways this can occur is with heart health. A greater propensity toward heart disease is associated with menopause, so it’s essential to manage our health and wellness accordingly.
As we age and enter perimenopause and menopause, our circulating supply of estrogen decreases. Because estrogen helps regulate many processes in the body, this decrease directly affects our heart health (1).

Estrogen helps to regulate:

  • Cholesterol levels
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Inflammation
  • Blood pressure/ blood vessel health and flexibility
So when estrogen declines, it’s important to engage in mitigating lifestyle practices to ensure your health long term.
One way to do this is to reduce your personal risk factors. Some of these we have control over, and some we don’t. But for those we can influence, there are many positive things we can do.

According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), risk factors include: (2)

Family history, such as a father or brother who had a heart attack before age 55, a mother or sister who had a heart attack before age 65
High blood pressure
Abnormal cholesterol levels
Physical inactivity 
Autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
History of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or pregnancy-induced hypertension
There are several things you can do to ensure that your heart remains healthy during this stage in life:

Eating a balanced diet

Eating a balanced diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help keep cholesterol levels low and prevent cardiovascular diseases from developing. Also, make sure to include foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and nuts, in your diet, as these are known to contribute to healthy heart function and reduce inflammation. Examples of healthful additions and changes you can make include.
  • Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Getting in a lot of whole grains and high-fiber foods. Fiber helps carry cholesterol out of the body.
  • Seeking out sources of protein that are low in saturated fat such as grass-fed, pastured animal proteins, pastured eggs, wild -caught seafood, beans, nuts and seeds and avoiding trans fatty acids
  • Consuming fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel at least twice per week.
  • Limiting sodium. Staying under 1.5 grams/day is a good benchmark.


Regular exercise is essential for maintaining heart health, and moderate physical activities like walking or swimming can help you stay in shape while preventing diseases. Strength training a few times a week, along with your cardio routine, can help maintain a healthy heart but is also great for mitigating bone loss, another common risk in menopause.
Be sure to consult your doctor before engaging in any exercise that may be too strenuous or risky for your health.


Manage stress levels by taking time out of the day for yourself through relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or even just a leisurely walk outside. Stress has been linked to cardiovascular disease, and this is especially true during menopause when hormone levels are changing, and life can become incredibly complicated and demanding.

Additionally, some lifestyle choices can have an adverse effect on your heart health during menopause:

• Too much caffeine can increase blood pressure, so try to keep your intake of caffeinated beverages to a minimum.

• Smoking is known to cause numerous health problems, including heart attack and stroke. If you are struggling with quitting, there are several resources available that can help you reach your goal.

• Drinking alcohol excessively increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, one of the most common causes of cardiovascular disease. Try drinking in moderation or avoid it altogether if possible.


Many supplements can help improve cardiovascular health. It is essential to talk with your nutritionist about which supplements may be right for you, as many can interact with medications. Monitoring your progress on supplements can help determine which combination of options works best for you as an individual.
These tips can help you manage your heart health during menopause and reduce the risk of serious medical issues down the road. Seeing your doctor regularly for checkups and getting tested for any underlying conditions is a great first step. Your nutritionist can help keep you on track with diet and lifestyle changes and help develop healthy strategies that will work best for you.


  1. Cardiovascular Health & Menopause, Menopause Information & Articles | The North American Menopause Society, NAMShttps://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/bone-health-and-heart-health/keeping-your-heart-healthy-at-menopause. Accessed 14 Mar. 2023.
  2. Murphy, Elizabeth. “Estrogen Signaling and Cardiovascular Disease.” Circulation Research, edited by Daniel P. Kelly, vol. 109, no. 6, Sept. 2011, pp. 687–96. DOI.org (Crossref)https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.110.236687.